"newsline". japanese prime minister shinzo abe is starting off the new year facing a long to-do list, and as he sorts through it all, he's firming up his priorities. abe held his first news conference the year on friday and he underscored his dedication to strengthening the japanese economy. the prime minister says he plans to decide on a fiscal 2013 draft budget within this month. he also confirmed he will submit a large scale supplementary budget to the diet for quick
enactment. abe says he wants the two budgets to finance spending seamlessly over the next 15 months to restore a strong economy. he also says the bank of japan should adopt bold monetary policies in close coordination with his government. >> translator: the bank of japan's monetary policy is critically important in terms of foreign exchange rates and in achieving a 2% inflation target. i strongly expect the central bank to act responsibly. >> prime minister abe also spoke about nuclear power. he indicated his government will consider allowing utilities to build new plants. >> translator: the government will go over what we've learned about the nuclear accident and check the progress of nuclear safety technology. i would like to carefully consider whether new plants can be built and it will take a certain amount of time. >> on diplomacy, abe said he'll
give top priority to strengthening the japan/u.s. alliance. he said he hopes to visit the united states soon for a summit with president barack obama. >> translator: through the meeting i want to show my country and also the world that the strong bond between japan and the u.s. has been restored. >> abe said japanese and u.s. officials are now working out the timing of his visit. people in japan are getting back to the grind after the new year holidays, streets, trains and offices were full on friday across the country. residents in the northeast are heading into 2013 facing the work they left behind by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. people who went to the first auction the year at this market in iwaty prefecture are still seeing fewer fish than they did before the disaster.
market spokespersons say the catch between april and december last year is almost 90% of what it used to be. still bidders were able to buy salmon, scallops and other fish on friday. >> translator: i'm very happy that we can hold new year's opening sales as usual. >> reconstruction minister gave his first instructions the year to senior officials from his agency. >> translator: i ask you to tackle your work in a creative manner. sectionalism could hamper you in dealing with various issues but i'll back you up politically. >> officials at tokyo electric power started their work at a new hours in fukushima prefecture. >> translator: we will always keep in mind how disaster
victims are suffering. we will do everything we can to help evacuees return home as soon as possible. >> tepco intends to station more than 4,000 employees at the fukushima recovery headquarters. prime minister abe's special envoy conveyed the leader's willingness to improve ties with south korea. the president elect park geun-hye gave a positive response but pointed out the need to face bilateral historic issues. former finance minister fukushiro nukaga met park in seoul. they hope the new governments can build good relations. he handed park a letter from the prime minister expressing the wish. park said south korea and japan need each other in many ways. she said she hopes to work on reconciliation and cooperation while facing issues connected to their related history. >> translator: we confirmed our
shared view we should improve ties from a broad perspective even though there are several outstanding bilateral issues. >> south korean president park geun-hye visited disputed islands in the sea of japan last august. japan claims the islands which are controlled by south korea, the visit angered many japanese and inflamed emotions in south korea. as japanese politicians try to repair relations with their counterparts in south korea, a legal case is presenting yet another challenge. a chinese man accused of committing a crime in tokyo has returned home after a south korean court denied an extradition request by japan. the man is suspected of setting a fire at the yasukuni shrine. he served a 10 month prison sentence in south korea in connection with another case. he threw molotov cocktails at the japanese embassy in seoul. they believe he set fire at the
yasukuni shrine in december of 2011. the shine honors war dead including convicted japanese war criminals. the authorities demand his practice addition based on a bilateral treaty but a south korean court rejected the request on thursday. it ruled he's exempt from the practice addition treaty on the grounds he committed crimes based on his political views and he considers yasukuni shrine a symbol of japanese justification for its past colonial warriors and not merely a religious facility. he flew to shanghai on friday. prime minister abe's envoy protested against the court decision when he met in seoul with south korean foreign minister. he responded the judgment of left in the hands of the judicial branch in accordance with law. back to business as usual in the tokyo markets and that means ron madison is here to tell us the latest on that. welcome back, ron. >> can you believe it's friday and we're just getting our week
started. long string of holidays made for a big chunk of days off for folks today. abbreviated session for the week but it was quite a strong day and traders at the tokyo stock exchange were buying for the first time this week. they marked their first day of business as part of the japan exchange group. they merged with the osaka securities exchange, japan's second largest board. >> reporter: the celebration of the launch and listing group to on friday morning. the market value of companies listed on the group becomes the world's fourth largest. >> translator: we hope global investors will choose our exchange so we can become the number one in asia. >> translator: the tse used to be the world's largest stock markets both in value and trading volume.
however, trading decline after japan's asset bubble burst in the early 1990s. the first day of trading began with women in traditional japanese kimono ringing a bell while market participants prayed for active trading this year. the nikkei ended at 10,688 on friday. it hit the highest closing level since just before the march 2011 disaster. share price on the tokyo stock exchange have been on the rise since november of last year. the major challenge for the new stock exchange whether it can attract mid and long term investments from inside and outside japan. they seem to realize the full vitality of the markets and increase number of new listings. let's go ahead and get a
look at the markets. we want to start with currencies this hour because we've been seeing some pretty big moves with dollar/yen. it's climbed above the 88 yen level for the first time in 29 months. right now you got dollar/yen at 88.30. analysts say investors are becoming a bit more willing to take risks due to the nikkei's gains and it led to selling of the yen which is seen as a safe-haven. the dollar buying is bolstered by the minutes of the fed's policy making minute last month. it signaled that the u.s. central bank may put an end to its easing policy earlier than expect preponderance of the evidence we have euro yen quoted at 114.90. moving on to stocks. let's check on europe first where shares are open and trading at this hour. we're seeing them slightly lower as you can see there. investors a bit cautious ahead of the release of the u.s. jobs report for december which is due out later on friday. london's ftse 100 down a fraction.
declines as well for frankfurt about .2%. paris market down about .4%. did see a mixed day for asia, though. tokyo's nikkei jumped to its highest level since march 2011. it was up, in fact, nearly 3% on the back of a weaker yen. japanese business leaders commented on the country's economic outlook for this year. >> translator: i believe the yen will continue to weaken for some time, and the real economy is likely to improve, at least through middle of this year. that includes a recovery in exports. >> translator: led by the united states, overseas economies are picking up strength, demand from outside japan is increasing steadily. the japanese economy is likely to follow a recovery path support in part by needs created
by restoration projects in the disaster hit region. additional monetary policy easing will also help the economy to grow. >> meanwhile tokyo mitsubishi chief analyst is a little bit more cautious. he is saying he's not sure if the yen's decline will continue. he warns the yen could start strengthening again if the u.s. economic recovery loses steam, or if japan's efforts to pull itself out of deflation fail. u.s. car dealers celebrated a positive end to 2012. they saw auto sales go up for a third straight year. u.s. research firm auto data released the annual figures. new vehicle sales increased more than 13% from the previous year. that works out to more than 14 million units. analysts say consumers were encouraged by lower interest rates and also a general pickup in the economy. general motors now the top seller spots with sales up
almost 4%. ford coming in second with more than two million units up almost 5%. now in terms of japanese automakers, toyota grabbed third with sales growing 27%, consumers bought 2 million toyota vehicles. japanese automakers moved fewer vehicles and increasingly becoming reliant on the u.s. market. that's going to do it for business hour. let's check in and see how things are looking on the markets.
members of the u.s. house of representatives re-elected republican john boehner as speaker. the new congress metaphor the first time on thursday. boehner managed to hold on to his position even though more than 10 members of his party didn't vote for him. boehner's leadership was thrown into question during the recent fiscal cliff debate. democrats and republicans were trying to decide on legislation for automatic implementation of large tax hikes and deep spending cuts. the bill eventually passed the house although many republican members opposed it. congress is facing another thorny issue this year. president barack obama wants to raise the debt ceiling, that's the limit of how much the federal government can borrow.
members of congress need to reach a deal by the end of next month. students who survived a mass shooting at a school in connecticut have endured a rough few weeks. they went back to class for the first time since the attack. about 400 students arrived at an unused junior high school. they are using the building at a neighboring town as their new campus. their old school remains closed. a gunman entered sandy hook elementary last month killing 20 of their school mates and six adults. the attack prompted president barack obama to push for tighter gun control. he suggests he wants to ban assault rifles and strengthen background checks. a recent poll suggests many americans still oppose a ban on the sale of assault rifles. the national rifle association carried weight across capitol hill and many republicans too
are against further restrictions. al jazeera has set its sights on one of the world's biggest tv markets, the united states. the satellite television network has acquired a cable channel founded by former u.s. vice president al gore. al jazeera is buying current tv. gore and a partner launched the network in 2005. it's available to about 60 million households. the government of qatar owns al jazeera. executives hope to double the number of their employees in the u.s. to more than 300. al thani believes al jazeera can make an important contribution to u.s. al jazeera launched its english news channel in 2006. it gained international attention forgoing behind the scenes during the iraq war. reporters asked tough questions about u.s. military operations and about the u.s.-led occupation. viewers make up almost 40% of
all online viewing. the network's anti-u.s. image has kept tv companies from carrying it or cable tv companies from carrying it and english language programs can only be viewed in select u.s. cities. japanese researchers have announced break throughs that could potentially be used in the fight against cancer and aids. the two groups of scientists have succeeded in using ips cell technology to make immune cells that can better fight the diseases. a team led by a professor from the university of tokyo extracted the t cells from the blood of people infected with hiv. the scientists reprogrammed the t cells into ibs cells. they then cultured the ibs cells with other white blood cells to create new t cells. they say the new cells can multiple faster than in their original form and the researchers say the new cells
have a longer life span. >> translator: we still have a lot to do, including carrying out safety tests. while we conduct the tests, we'll do more research so it can be applied to patients as soon as possible. >> researchers at the state backed science institute riken say they have their own success. they also used ips cell technology to successfully rejuvenate "t" cells that attack skin cancer. we're starting off the new year by getting to know people in japan who are considered frontrunners in their fields. this woman has worked forde kids a to put women on an equal footing with men opinion some experts believe that's a key to economic growth. she's watched the status of
women improve in other countries now she says it's time for the japanese government to take action. she spoke with nhk world. >> translator: she's worked in the field of gender issues for over 40 years. she served as japan's representative to the u.n. commission on the status of women. business organizations like the international monetary fund and the world economic forum, they are urging japan to reduce gender disparity. why is that? >> when we look at economic situation and the depressive mood of our society, there is
only one way to have a hope for our future and that is to make women more lively, bring them into the center of the society together with men. >> reporter: one of the biggest gender issues affecting the japanese economy is the low number of working mothers. as this chart shows the number of female workers dropped significantly between the age of 25 and 29. that's because more than 60% of working women quit their jobs when they have children. in the united states the figure is only 9%. >> what makes it so difficult for those women to stay in their jobs? >> it remains a mystery that
among the industrial countries japan has been the only country that women with higher education do not have careers, do not stay on the job for long periods of time. men, i expect to become breadwinners. they are expected to be trained to be breadwinners. so they are forced into the labor force. and women are expected to be home makers. caregivers at home. >> as she points out even mothers who work are expected to take care of the children rather than the fathers. a recent poll found that in almost 75% of double income families the mothers are responsible for looking after the children. in only 2% of the families is
the father. >> they are pressured by the norm as well as the attitude and the mindset of their parents-in-law and the husbands that you are the child career. >> she says japan lags far behind other nations on this issue. for example, the netherlands implemented laws that give men and women the same benefits whether they work full time or part time. that gives couples greater flexibility in balancing work and their commitment. >> what should the government be doing? >> simple thing that japanese
government can do is to decide to utilize women in the same way that they have been utilizing men as a resource for production. so women should have the same opportunity to reach the higher position. in that way men and women can cooperate more productively and with more happy feeling. speaking with meguro of the gender platform. our frontrunners 2013 continue next week. on monday we are introduced to a seismologist who is working to better explain the movement of the earth's plates to help people better prepare for disaster. there's a storm moving through the south china sea. rachel ferguson has been watching the latest
developments. rachel what can you tell us? >> a fairly weak tropical storm moving through the philippines dumped a lot of heavy rain there and now moving west at 15 kilometers an hour. sitting in the southern portion of the south china sea over these warmer waters it has the potential to develop further now. at the moment the winds are sustained at 70 kilometers an hour with gusts over 100 kilometers an hour. still a significant storm and we'll be keeping a very close eye on its progress. let's go now to somewhere that's certainly not in fear of warm waters. frigid across northeastern japan. northeastern asia i should say japan included in that as well as the korean peninsula and northern china in the grips of icy weather. as for the snow, well the sea of japan side of the country has been getting some fairly heavy snow as is usual this time the year in the last 36 hours or so another 30 centimeters of snow has fallen. that will wrap up on saturday.
there's potential to see snow on the pacific edge of the country which is unusual, 50% chance we'll see in yokohama. if it does. >> it's the first snow of the season. let's look at temperatures. 5 degrees in tokyo. low is around the freezing point. minus one for the high. as for your low down to minus 11. beijing sitting around the freezing point. starting point your high minus 18 in ulan batur. let's go the americas. small snowstorm moving through texas. it's going to turn over to rain as it heads towards the gulf of mexico but not before dumping about 25 centimeters of snow in some places. elsewhere mostly high and dry. temperatures are seasonal. snow event as well. that will go into the intermountain west and snowfall popping into montana as well as
wyoming, idaho and towards the east you can see a low spreading some light but widespread snow across eastern canada. that's rapidly pushing towards the atlantic but will push it through new england first. you'll have some snow showers here. as i say fairly seasonal temperatures. however if we head over to europe we will see a different story. out west it's anything but seasonable. we're talking about highs in and around what we usually see in march the spring like highs and the lows around what we usually see in may or june. take a look at what's going on. fairly dry here. we got this arch here where the preparation is moving further towards the north. the jet stream is preventing it from moving up and i'll show you that diagram in just a second. we have an area here of precipitation. getting rain changing over to snow across the czech republic as well as germany, austria and further east.
this is definitely snow north of black sea. let's show you that graphic. warm air here coming up from the south across the british isles and then as the jet stream descends we see the cooler air then managing to come in across from north. take a look at temperatures. 11 degrees in london for the high. 12 in paris. don't usually see this at the beginning of january. 9 degrees for you in berlin as well as vienna but temperatures will trop off as we head to the east. 0 in moscow and 1 for you in kiev. here's you extended forecast.